we would work with people
who had experienced some sort of a traumatic event in their lives.
Like becoming homeless, being raped, etc. that has shattered their sense
of security and made them very vulnerable.
these people would be
willing to work every day as a laborer under direction to repair and
rehab the building they would be purchasing.
these people would also
agree to similarly help us help others in rehabbing at least 5 more
buildings after they receive their certificate of occupancy and move
into their rehabbed house. (Thus building a sense of community and
"investment" in the whole neighborhood or city and not in just their own
these folks would agree
to have two plaques placed on their home at the front door and at the
door the family normally enters the home through that gives thanks to
the individuals and entities that assisted them in making this abandoned
property their home.
we would want to work with
many associations and groups of contractors, electricians, plumbers,
carpenters, roofers, masons, landscapers, architects, engineers,
inspectors, flooring and wall cladding people, those that do windows and
exterior siding, etc. so that the "assistance" is spread around and
everyone does a little and not one company or agency do a lot. The
idea is for cooperative and collaborative efforts so that "many hands
make light work" and we build community while not placing an undo burden
on any particular individual or entity.
we want the funding and
such to not be so onerous that a person could not reasonably pay back
what is owed and "lose" the home. This would be a disaster we
would never want to have happen. But in having them agree to help
at least 5 more homes to be made from abandoned buildings in the next 10
years after their building is done, we create "community" so if any one
that helped is having difficulty a particular month they would also
spontaneously help with a fund raising "spaghetti dinner", etc. because
they are not only a home owner but a part of the neighborhood and want
to help it grow and become a vibrant and great place for all.
we would want to have at
least monthly meetings with the folks we are helping with training
sessions on particular skills, how to navigate the city or town rules
regarding purchasing and rehabbing property, planning for the costs of
taxes and utilities and snow removal and lawn care and a host of things
that come with home ownership a person who has rented a space before
might not know of. These also would be "community building" meetings on
a "pot luck" format with a meal and good fellowship as well as the
instructional components. We would also partner with local
building places (Like Home Depot or Lowes) to come as a group to attend
their instructional meetings on “how to do” some aspect of remodeling a
we would also have
meetings, maybe quarterly, in which we celebrate achievements, such as a
person designated with us as a developer of a city or town owned piece
of property. Or the roof is put on and/or insulation has been
installed and the work passed city/town inspection and they can now
proceed with the next item to be done. In this type of event we
also build community but invite the people of that city or town to come
and share with us in this joy and tell about what we are doing so that
they might also want to join with us in this work. Rarely do people get
together to celebrate these days and the community gathering on a
regular basis to note achievements is a thing we just need to inculcate
into our neighborhoods again.
we would initially draw
our group of "incorporating" people from leaders of the city or town and
"stake holders" in this project. But later we would want to have
at least one and preferably a minimum of 20 percent of the board of
directors come from the ranks of people who have "been there" and
experience the difficulties some one having had such a traumatic event
in their lives knows of and whom we have helped to have come from that
point to becoming a home owner with that equity which comes from their
own hard work in making this once abandoned building their home.
, we want to use the "Not
So Big House
" principles promoted by the works of Sarah Susanka to
build into that abandoned property that the city or town has owned the
various "amenities" that speak to the way that home owner (future home
owner) lives their lives so that the structure they return to every day
(or in the case of a disabled person, elderly person, or mother with
young children live in all day) is a place they WANT to be at and enjoy
living there. So, the people that will be obtaining and working on
rehabbing the home are "on the ground floor" in designing the future
home and its landscaping so that it fits best the way they enjoy
living. The very best of architectural, sustainable engineered,
and as "green as possible" homes is what we would put back into the
community as rehabbed and remodeled homes.
Those are our first 10 "talking points"
about this vision.
We would be saving the best of the
cultural aspects of a building built maybe many years ago but now
remodeled so it can be "sustainable" and very functional for today's
living and an asset for tomorrow.
We can envision this as being a great solution for some (Not all as
a component of this is the people that would own the home being
willing to use their own "sweat equity" in working each workday on
rehabbing this building into their home) of the individual and
family homelessness situations we face in our communities today.
One lady said to our founder, Charlie Knight, “all
I want is a decent home with a yard my kid can play in in safety
How can anyone be against that!
One of our goals is to within 3-5 years be able to celebrate at
least one certificate of occupancy being granted each week to a
individual or family that we have helped.
You can be a part of making this dream a reality and helping not
only individuals and families but also the cities and towns that
have abandoned building stock & homeless people.
Contact Charlie Knight, founder,